Comedy review: Gráinne Maguire: Great People Making Great Choices

Grainne Maguire

Grainne Maguire

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Your heart sinks as Gráinne Maguire reveals she’s been reading Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, tome of choice for pseudy, self-righteous adolescents out to bore you with the idea that all major religions and Star Wars spring from the same basic myth.

Star rating: ****

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

However, this is a deceptively rich hour from the London-based Irish comic, brilliantly fusing the personal and political, put together by a performer who knows how to tell a story.

She starts out playfully, romantically envisioning herself as a martyr in a civil war, cutely appropriating the beret and bullet belt of a resistance fighter, longing to prostrate herself across a flag as she expires on a barricade.

Films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Beauty and the Beast and The Wizard of Oz are teased for the dubious messages they impart to young girls. She pokes fun at stereotypes that nationalities reassure themselves with and historical examples of men subjugating women, gentle satire that’s nevertheless delivered with the crisp, witty precision of a seasoned gag writer.

Memorably, there’s a hilarious hardcore porn scenario spun on its head as an equality propaganda tool.

Gradually though, she imparts more and more of her own story, the father who may or may not have been politically militant but was certainly a Jekyll and Hyde character; the relationship cycles she perpetuates in her self-validating, manic pixie dream girl quest for drama, bound up with her commitment to a self-destructive Labour party.

Ironically, it’s not some grand, sweeping narrative that elevates Maguire to the heroic conflict she craves, bleeding for her nation and gender, but a sardonic, angrily tossed out tweet.

Complete with a message and the sort of self-realisation that stand-ups tend to cynically mock in Fringe shows, this is a smart yet daft, brave, watershed show from an evolving comic.

Until 29 August. Today 7:15pm.

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